Can You be a Teacher With a DUI or DWI?

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The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has a list of crimes that it considers directly related to an educators responsibility. The following lays out what type of DWI issue that will trigger possible discipline:

“Two or more crimes committed within a 12-month period that involve public intoxication, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or disorderly conduct.”

For discipline to take place there will need to be a conviction. Getting arrested for DWI is only an accusation until a final conviction takes place. Notice that 2 or more Public Intoxications apply as well. They are only Class C misdemeanors punishable by fine but are very important to keep off of a person’s record.

Conviction of a crime directly related to the duties and responsibilities of the education profession” 

This does not mean that a teacher cannot be fired. This discussion is focused on TEA discipline.

Can I Get My Teaching Certificate if I Have Criminal History?

The state auditors office applies the Texas Occupations Code with regard to licensing individuals with their particular certificates. The criteria is compiled in the auditors document applying for an occupational license after a conviction or deferred adjudication. Below is a partial discussion regarding what is considered when criminal history exists.

While there are a few, specific offenses or types of offense that
permanently disqualify a person from seeking a particular license,
the vast majority of licenses do not have such restrictions. In most
situations, the type or seriousness of the offense is just one factor
the licensing authority considers when deciding whether to issue
a license. Licenses might be issued despite serious and directly
related offenses if, for example, the licensing authority
determines that sufficient time has passed since the offense was
committed or other information or evidence has established that
issuing the license will not create an unacceptable risk to the
public.

The licensing authority will determine the basis for
eligibility/ineligibility by evaluating whether your
conviction(s) or deferred adjudication(s) directly relates to
the licensed occupation. Factors considered include:

  • The nature and seriousness of the crime.
  • The relationship of the crime to the purposes for requiring a license to engage in the occupation.
  • The extent to which a license might offer an opportunity
  • to engage in further criminal activity of the same type that you previously had been involved.
  • The relationship of the crime to the ability or capacity required to perform the duties and discharge the responsibilities of the licensed occupation.
  • Any correlation between the elements of the crime and the duties and responsibilities of the licensed occupation.
  • If the licensing authority determines your conviction(s) or deferred adjudication(s) directly related to the licensed occupation, it will then consider:
  • The extent and nature of your past criminal activity.
  • Your age when the crime was committed.
  • The amount of time that has elapsed since your last criminal activity.
  • Your conduct and work activity before and after the
  • criminal activity.
  • Evidence of your rehabilitation or rehabilitative effort while incarcerated or after release.
  • Evidence of your compliance with any conditions of community supervision, parole, or mandatory supervision.
  • Other evidence of your fitness, including letters of recommendation.

Will a Felony DWI Keep Me From Being a Teacher?

Yes. According to Chapter 249. Disciplinary Proceedings, Sanctions, and Contested Cases Subchapter B. Enforcement Actions and Guidelines.

It is critical for a potential teacher to fight to keep a felony DWI conviction off their record.

What Discipline Can TEA Use Against an Educator?

The following disciplinary options are listed on the TEA website.

What disciplinary action can SBEC take?

SBEC may take the following action against an educator’s certificate:

  • Require a person to withdraw from an educator preparation program;
  • Place restrictions on the issuance, renewal, or holding of a certificate, either indefinitely or for a set term;
  • Issue a non-inscribed reprimand, which is a formal, unpublished censure that does not appear on the face of the educator’s official certification records;
  • Issue an inscribed reprimand, which is a formal, published censure that appears on the face of the educator’s official certification records;
  • Suspend a certificate for a set term or
  • Revoke or cancel, which includes accepting the surrender of a certificate without opportunity for reapplication for a set term or permanently.

The State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) may take the following disciplinary actions against an educator’s certification:

  • Place restrictions on the issuance, renewal, or holding of a certificate, either indefinitely  or for a set term;
  • Issue an inscribed or non-inscribed reprimand;
  • Suspend a certificate for a set term or issue a probated suspension for a set term;
  • Revoke or cancel, which includes accepting the surrender of, a certificate without opportunity for reapplication for a set term or permanently; or
  • Impose any additional conditions or restrictions upon a certificate as deemed necessary by the SBEC.

How Do I Avoid A Suspended Teaching Certificate?

If this in Texas the first thing to do it seek a competent, experienced, and hardworking Texas DWI Defense Attorney. This also applies to any other state whether a DWI or DUI is the name of the charge. It is key to get an attorney who understands how to negotiate and analyze key issues in a DWI case. The attorney’s effort and skill are critical for educator’s future professional career.

The result of the case may be negotiated to a satisfactory result or may have to be taken to a jury trial to try and get an acquittal to save the teacher’s career.

What Agencies License Occupation Licenses in Texas?

  • Executive Council of Physical Therapy and Occupational
  • Therapy Examiners
  • Office of the Secretary of State
  • Texas Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board
  • Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council
  • Texas Board of Architectural Examiners
  • Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners
  • Texas Board of Examiners of Psychologists
  • Texas Board of Nursing
  • Texas Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors
  • Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists
  • Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
  • Texas Department of Agriculture
  • Texas Department of Banking
  • Texas Department of Insurance
  • Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation
  • Texas Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Texas Department of Public Safety
  • Texas Department of Savings and Mortgage Lending
  • Texas Department of State Health Services
  • Texas Education Agency – State Board for Educator
  • Certification
  • Texas Funeral Service Commission
  • Texas Health and Human Services Commission
  • Texas Lottery Commission
  • Texas Medical Board
  • Texas Office of Consumer Credit Commissioner
  • Texas Optometry Board
  • Texas Racing Commission
  • Texas Real Estate Commission
  • Texas State Board of Dental Examiners
  • Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors
  • Texas State Board of Pharmacy
  • Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners
  • Texas State Board of Public Accountancy
  • Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners
  • Texas State Securities Board

For more information go to http://erictorberson.com

Author: Eric Torberson

Eric Torberson is a licensed attorney in Texas as well as licensed in the federal courts of the southern and western districts of Texas.